The University of Ottawa encampment students will not move from the lawn in front of Tabaret Hall if the university administration declares trespassing, and will reject any injunction forcing such an action.

Student representatives met with the school’s administration on Wednesday to break the stalemate between the two sides but afterwards they concluded “we are clearly at an impasse.”

According to the Ottawa encampment organizers, the university administration told them that “they (will) explore all of their options and will respond however they feel is most appropriate.”

Expectations of escalation have heightened in the wake of an injunction granted by the Ontario Superior Court calling the University of Toronto encampment  on King’s College Circle trespassing.

The U of T pro-Palestinian students decided to clear out and avoid any confrontation with the police ending more than two months of occupation.

“We are appalled that we got to this point. I feel rage, anger, and frustration,” Erin Mackey, a spokesperson for U of T Occupy Palestine, told Capital Current.

“We urge all students to continue to do this work, and to continue to do this fight for divestment until Palestine is free.”

Last week, Capital Current learned from encampment organizers and supportive faculty that the administration had notified the students to clear out by June 26, otherwise the occupation would be considered trespassing. Such a move would seem to raise the possibility of police involvement. 

Although the deadline has passed, no official action has been taken yet. 

At a press conference last Thursday, professors, workers, and community members stated that if the university moves to put an end to the pro-Palestinian encampment in front of Tabaret Hall, any police action would have “to go through us.”

Sumayya Kheireddine, president of INSAF, one of the organizations behind the encampment said at the conference the students will not go anywhere until their demands are met.

“[To uOttawa students] stand your ground, do not give into what the administration tries to fall you, and stick to what you believe is true. We are here to support you,” said Nadine Shurafa, one of the U of T encampment organizers.

“We are here to do whatever we can to support you, and we will continue our fighting for divestment.”

Amnesty International Canada has denounced the injunction that ended the UoT students’ encampment because it failed to protect the right of peaceful assembly.

“The right of peaceful assembly is protected under both international and domestic law and is fundamental to express political opinions, amplify marginalized voices, and engage with those who wield power in any society,” said Amnesty’s Ketty Nivyabandi in a statement.

Ali Mallah, an anti-war activist resident of Toronto, told Capital Current that what U of T has done is disgraceful and against freedom of expression.

“The students are heroes. They made a very smart decision by avoiding confrontation with the police and chose to dismantle the encampment. They should be proud of themselves as we are proud of them,” said Mallah

Mallah added that although the court order went against the students’ peaceful demonstration, the court found that the protestors did not engage in any hateful or antisemitic incident.

“These findings are important because the students have been intentionally smeared, and their peaceful assembly has been distorted,” he said.

“I hope the students in Ottawa will continue their fight for justice. We are so proud of them.”